Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

It’s like doodling….but on skin

For many years I have looked at Henna tattoos and thought that the designs and color was beautiful, and on this trip I had decided that I wanted to get one to see exactly what it was like. 

I talked to the hotel reception desk and they organized for me to visit a local beauty parlor to have the tattoo (also called Mehndi) applied.  I learned that the dye is prepared from leaves of the Henna plant which is a tall shrub or small tree.  Since it is difficult to form intricate patterns from coarse crushed leaves, the leaves are normally powdered and then a paste is made adding a liquid such as water, lemon juice or strong tea.

So, with very little information, I sat in the chair and calmly presented my arm to Midhila (By profession a Nutritionist for a local Diabetes Clinic) for decoration….. IMG_8679

…..and off she went.  The Henna paste was in a small tube….


….and I was amazed at the intricate details that she could draw.  The pattern quickly grew…..


…and I was greatly reminded of some of the Zen Doodle patterns that I have played with over the years.

She would first outline the next shape and then use various fill patterns or shadings to add interest.   After a short while, it looked like this…..


….and I was pleased that there was a Peacock included in the design!!

She kept on painting down my finger, ending with a spiral of dots on the finger nail itself….who knew!!


We sat and talked for about 10 minutes while the initial design dried…..IMG_8719

She then turned my arm over and was off again……



….continuing until she reached the tip of my index finger…..


It was a fascinating process…..

 This VIDEO is at the start


This VIDEO is on the other side of my arm and she is almost finished.


The women at the “Glamito Hair & Beauty Hub” were so kind, even going out and bringing Pineapple juice for us to drink.

A final photo…..


….and now we had to figure out how to keep my hand wide open and my arm in the air for the next 2 hours!!!  We had planned to take a Tuk-tuk back to the hotel but were afraid that it would be too bumpy so we called the hotel and asked them to send a car.

Midhila had told me that it would take about an hour for the henna to dry and then to make a lemon juice and sugar mixture and daub it onto the dried henna.  Let that sit for at least another hour and then scrape the “mud” off.

The hotel was magnificent in helping me obtain everything I needed.   As I walked back in I asked for some limes and an oil of some sort and immediately a bowl of cut limes arrived and two small tubes of Coconut oil.

We followed the procedure……IMG_8767and were soon scraping the henna off, using a spoon and fingernails…..IMG_8773

When I first saw the results, I was really disappointed as it was just a dark orange color (and not a particularly pretty color )…..


But, in the next 24 hours, it turned to a much more pleasing deeper brown color…..


The design on top of my hand and arm never got as dark as I would have liked, but I think was a mixture of the color of my skin and that I  probably didn’t leave it on long enough…..


But overall, I was pleased with the result and very glad to have gone thru the process.   If I do it another time, I think that I will have it placed on my lower leg and ankle so that I can wrap it in saran wrap and let it sit for 4+ hours.

The design normally lasts for 2 – 3 weeks, depending on how long you leave the paste on.    Since I didn’t leave it long enough, it faded pretty fast but I enjoyed it while it was there.

I am hoping to try to recreate it as a quilting design sometime!!!

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